Q:

What information does an individual need to check the status of a tax refund?

A:

Quick Answer

Individuals need their Social Security number or Taxpayer Identification Number, their filing status, and their exact refund amount to check the status of their refund. With that information, taxpayers can go to the IRS website and use the "Where's My Refund?" tool to get up-to-date information.

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Full Answer

Once the IRS receives a tax return, they upload the information to the system. Taxpayers who e-file tax returns can check their status within 24 hours, and those who mail their claims can check within 4 weeks. The website is updated once every 24 hours, usually overnight, and it gives taxpayers the time frame in which to expect their refunds. Taxpayers cannot look up their refund information without the required information. Without it, taxpayers will need to call the IRS for updates; however, the IRS advises not to call before the 21-day period is up.

Taxpayers can choose to have their refund direct deposited or mailed in check form. Refunds sent via direct deposit go out on Friday's, usually 21 days after the IRS receives the refund, and checks are mailed out in batches. It could take several more weeks to receive a refund by check.

If taxpayers do not receive their refund within the estimated time frame, they can return to the website tool for updated information, or they can contact the IRS for more details.

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